Monday, September 26, 2005

Letter to Joan

Tomorrow night, Robin Fox and I are going to see Joan Rivers at The Cutting Room. After the show, I plan to present Joan with a large bouquet and the following letter:

Sept. 27, 2005

Dear Ms. Rivers,

I hope you will remember me, though Id be shocked if you did.

We first met in 1999, when I was working as a producer for "Fox and Friends" the morning show on Fox News Channel, and you came on the show to promote your book, "Dont Count the Candles"

We spoke on the phone for the pre-interview, and then I met you in person the morning of your appearance. You could not have been lovelier or warmer toward me  autographing a copy of your book and even posing for a photo with me in the green room. (See enclosed.)Plus, you were a great guest, as I knew you would be.

The image http://adamsank.com/images/Adam'nJoan.jpg cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Two years later, in 2001, you came back to promote Crest Whitening Strips, and were again utterly wonderful.

Fast forward to 2003, when I hung up my producing career and decided to pursue my life-long dream of becoming a stand-up comic.

Fast forward to Now. Its been two years, and Ive been enjoying some modest successes of late. I opened for Hal Sparks for a week of sold-out shows at Carolines this past June and spent the summer playing gay resorts in Cancun, Fire Island and Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Now I am hosting my own show, The Electro Shock Therapy Comedy Hour every Sunday night at Therapy Bar on W. 52nd St. I figured I might as well take a shot and ask you: Would you ever consider performing there as my guest?

I realize you are an extremely busy woman, and I understand completely if you cant do this, especially as I can only offer you my hosting fee for the night.

But I figured Id kick myself if I missed the opportunity to ask you, one of my all-time comic inspirations and all-around favorite people, to appear in my show. Of course, you could pick the Sunday and do as long or as short a set as you wish. The show begins at 10 p.m. and ends at 11.

Regardless of whether I ever hear back from you, I want to thank you for inspiring me  back when I was a miserable young news producer  to pursue my dreams, no matter what anyone else thought.

My best wishes to you always,

Adam Sank
917-XXX-XXXX
www.adamsank.com


I'll let you know how it goes.

P.S. SPECIAL SHOUT-OUT: Congratulations to my childhood friend, Keith Johnson, and his wife, Mandy, who are expecting their first child! Way to go, guys!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Laundry Day

I am one of the lucky New Yorkers who have laundry facilities in the basement of their building. Those of you in other parts of the country are probably scratching your heads at this, because you can't imagine not having a washer and dryer in your own home (or because you have psoriasis). But yes -- if you live in Manhattan and you're not Trump, there's a good chance you'll be hauling your shit to the laundromat on a regular basis.

In any case, there are exactly two washing machines and two dryers in my building, which has 25 units. So it should come as little surprise to me when I head down there on a cloudy Sunday afternoon and find mountains of dirty clothes piled up in front of the machines, patiently waiting their turn to be laundered. But it's REALLY upsetting to me. So when I ventured down there moments ago, my pockets laden with quarters, my laundry basket overflowing with unspeakable filth, and heard the wet automatic "zhhhhhhhh" of not one but both of the washers, I screamed "Fuck!" as loud as I could.

Of course, I didn't see my young blonde neighbor standing in the corner innocently filling one of the dryers. Apparently, my outburst frightened her. She stared up at me, lip quivering, eyes wider than Jennifer Wilbanks on her way to the altar. It didn't help that I do my laundry wearing nothing but a ratty old pair of gym shorts and leather sandals. All I needed was a kimono.


'It puts the fabric softener in the basket, or it gets the hose again.'

Anyway, it looks like I'll be stuck here for hours waiting for my turn, so I might as well blog. (As opposed to prepping my show tonight, which would be too practical.)

Last night I went with my friend Brad to see the new David Cronenberg movie, "A History of Violence," starring hotties Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello. Manohla Dargis gave it an incredibly glowing review in The Times, so I had high expectations. Yeah, it sucked. Bizarre. Nonsensical. Overacted. On the plus side, it has two of the hottest straight sex scenes I've ever seen. Between Maria Bello writhing away in a slutty cheerleader outfit with silk panties and Viggo Mortensen's naked ass-thrusts, well, let's just say there's something for everyone. Of course, seated next to me was the world's oldest woman, who kept making "tsk tsk" noises every time Viggo and Maria got their freak on. Which actually made it hotter for me.

Oh, and before the movie, they showed the trailer for "Brokeback Mountain," the upcoming gay cowboy movie starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. You know you're in a New York City theater when the audience applauds after a trailer showing two cowboys humping.

Hold on -- gotta go check the laundry situation.

I'm back. Blondie has recovered from her shock and is now filling the washers with two more loads. Way to bogart the facilities, Gwyneth. It'll be another 90 minutes before I can even get started.

What else? Oh, the fall TV season has begun and that means I'm spending most of my life on the couch again. My new favorites include VH-1's "Breaking Bonaduce," the reality show about the former child star-turned-train wreck and Fox's "Reunion," a serialized drama following the lives of six attractive teenagers -- one of whom will be murdered -- over a 20-year period. It's highly implausible but very satisfying.

Random observation du jour: I was watching "Sex in the City" on the WB Thursday night; it's now on every weeknight at 11 p.m. The episode was from season one. It was the one where Carrie runs into Amalita, the international party girl (or, as Miranda calls her, "a hooker with a passport") and winds up having sex with a French architect who leaves money on the dresser for her.

Now, I love "Sex in the City," and I love Sarah Jessica Parker, so I don't mean to talk trash. But there is one scene where she's walking down 5th Avenue with the architect wearing ridiculous clown makeup, her hair frizzed beyond recognition, and it struck me: She looks a lot like like Dee Snider, circa 1985.


Separated at birth?

Apparently, I'm not the first person to notice this; when you do a google image search for "Dee Snider," Sarah Jessica pops up repeatedly.

Well, I should really start getting tonight's show together. My special guests will be Goddess Perlman, David Hodorowski and, making his comedy debut, my friend Brian Barry. If you're in NYC, please come by Therapy at 10 p.m.

Hopefully my laundry will be done by then.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Sweet Smell of Semi-Success

This blog is dedicated to my childhood friend, Kasey Anderson Gatlin. No, she's not dead. But she is the only person who cared enough to ask me how my big Sunday night show at Therapy went. And so, Kasey, this is for you:

It went WELL. Not mind-blowingly, outrageously well, but well. And given how freaked out I was going into it, I'm not complaining. I'll take well.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. My weekend o' performances began Friday night, when I went to Rose's Turn and was thrilled to find Michael Isaacs back behind the piano, where he belongs. The crowd was big and loud and fun and seemed to enjoy some semi-new material on my part, including one bit involving my therapist and a dirty diaper. (Editor's note: My spell-check thinks "semi-new" should be "semen." Ha ha -- he said "semen.")

Seth texted me on my way out the door and told me to meet him and some friends at Opaline in its new location at Club Shelter on 39th and 5th. It is a huge club -- five floors -- with a rooftop deck and lots of sweaty boys dancing shirtless. What's not to love? Had a blast and stayed up WAY too late.

Saturday night was Ron Poole's Gay & Lesbian Comedy Fest at Don't Tell Mama, which was hosted by the always-terrific and highly lesbionic Erin Foley. The crowd was NICE -- a healthy mix of gay men, lesbos and breeders -- and I got to go up third, which I love. Happy, happy, joy joy. Off to Roxy for another late night of no-good. (Have you figured out yet that I was REALLY dreading the Therapy show?)

Slept until noon on Sunday and spent the rest of the day working on my lineup. I decided to go with the Emmys theme; I would dress in formal attire and make my entrance clutching a golden statuette. I also chose music for the performers' introductions -- classical awards-show theme music for my own entrance (it was actually the theme from "Jurassic Park"), Meredith Brooks's "Bitch" for Robin Fox, and Beyoncé's "Naughty Girl" for Courtney Knowles. (Get it?
Beyoncé Knowles? Courtney Knowles? Yeah, neither did anyone else. I tried.)

Selected my material, went up to the roof to tan and tried unsuccessfully for a late-afternoon nap. Hopped around the house like a psychotic chicken until 9 and then ventured out into the humid air in my black wool suit, white shirt and suspenders. (This after discovering that the suit, which had always been baggy on me, was now cutting off all circulation to my fat waist. Must do more cardio and less peanut butter.)

Therapy was quiet when I arrived, but those people who were there were all upstairs in the performance area watching the Emmys. Perfect. Gradually, more folks arrived. One of them was even overheard asking, "Hey, is there like some comedy show tonight?" I pounced on him like a tiger:

"Yes! Yes! Don't go anywhere! It's starting in just a few minutes!"

Emmys ended. Dale Sorenson, who had shown up to cheer me on, made the intro into an off-stage mic: "Ladies and Gentlemen: The 2005 Emmy for Best Performance by a Bottom in a Made-For-TV Movie or Miniseries is... ADAM SANK!" I made my way through the small crowd, hugging and kissing random strangers on the way. I got up, stumbled a bit, and then caught a rhythm. Did some fairly decent crowd work and then some material. The queens were actually paying attention, and most of them were laughing. What a difference a crowd makes.

Introduced Robin Fox, who looked great and performed even better. The queens loved her, especially her stuff about Costco. She did a very strong 15 minutes. I got back up, did a couple more so-so bits, then brought up Courtney Knowles, who entertained the crowd with very funny stuff about his Southern Baptist family. He also did a strong 15. I thanked everyone, told them to come back next week, and IT WAS OVER!! SWEET RELIEF!!

Everyone who was there at the start of the show stayed until the end, save for two Asian guys whom I think I offended. (Apparently, they didn't like being referred to as "Gaysians." Go figule.) And Rob, the adorable waiter, informed me, "Tonight went great!" Sweet.

Sincere and heartfelt thanks to the following for coming out to support the show: Tony, Seth, Pat, Matt Peterson, Dale Sorenson, Guy Winch, Rob Driemeyer, Brian Barry and most of all, Robin and Courtney, without whom the show wouldn't have been a success.

I am still terrified about next week, but at least I know it can be done. Stay tuned.

P.S. The Emmys sucked.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Mocked on Gawker

At long last, after much begging and pleading, gawker.com, my favorite blog, has listed one of my shows. Of course, they've also totally humiliated me in the process. But that's showbiz.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Whoops!

The following is a true story that happened moments ago. Names have been changed to protect the innocent and prevent adding further insult to injury.

I am at work when I get an email from a fellow Soapbox comic; I'll call him Seamus. In the email, Seamus inquires about another Soapbox comic, whom I'll call Chester Sparks. The email reads in part:

Let me know how Chester Sparks does on Sunday-- he lists your [Therapy] show on his schedule...

I am immediately alarmed; not only have I not booked Chester Sparks for my show, but he's never expressed an interest in performing in it. In fact, I have no familiarity with Chester Sparks or his comedy. Up until now, he's been nothing more to me than a name on the Soapbox web site.

I fire off an email to Chester Sparks:

Hi, Chester - Just curious: I see you've listed my show this Sunday at Therapy on your performing schedule. Do you know something about the lineup that I don't? Best, Adam

Within moments, Chester Sparks replies:

i put it on my list thinking that i wood be on the show .. But i guest not so i will take it off. Sorry

Huh? I reply to him:

Thanks. I appreciate the free publicity, but I generally like to book people before they advertise that they're going to appear in the show.

Still baffled by this turn of events, I forward Chester Spark's email to Seamus, adding the following comments to it:

Is that psycho? What the hell was he thinking? And why does he spell like a 2nd-grader in Special Ed?

I hit "send" and then go on my lunch break. (Rosemary chicken with rice pilaf. Yum!) Returning to my desk half an hour later, I find the following email from Chester Sparks waiting in my in-box:

Whats the matter with you !! All that i ask was to be on you show & you say i am a Psycho who spells like a 2nd-grader in Special Ed--------- FUCK YOU & YOUR SHOW ASS HOLE...

Yes, it seems that rather than sending my comments to Seamus, I have accidentally sent them to Chester Sparks.

Sadly, this is not the first time I've done something like this. Once, when I was still at Fox News, I sent the following instant message to Patrick, my boss: "I hate Patrick."

I also once sent a senior producer at Fox who suffered from a chronic nervous cough the following message: "Cough cough. Cough Cough." You'd think I would learn my lesson by now and carefully check the recipient before I send out these virtual poison pen letters, but apparently I'm a moron.

So chagrined and feeling very guilty, I type out the following to Chester Sparks:

Obviously, I intended for this email to go to Seamus. I am sorry I fucked up and sent it to you. But I do find it odd that you would list a show you were never booked for, particularly when we've never even had a conversation about your performing there.

For what it's worth, I'd be happy to watch your tape if you're still interested in performing at Therapy sometime. If not, I understand.

Embarrassed,
Adam

But apparently, the damage has been done. Chester Sparks replies:

Don't kiss ass now - if this is how you book comics than i don't think it will work out.

Oh, dear. I have made a new enemy in the comedy world. And I have nobody to blame but myself and my own damn fast fingers. The moral of the story: The next time you question a person's sanity and spelling ability in an email, make sure you don't send the email to that person.

Oh, and come see me at Therapy after the Emmys Sunday night with Robin Fox and Courtney Knowles. (Not appearing: Chester Sparks.)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Preempted by the Emmys

So last night I'm sitting on the toilet, happily flipping through my Entertainment Weekly, when I come across an ad for the Emmys, which are being hosted by Ellen Degeneres. And I'm like, "Yay! I love the Emmys! And I love Ellen! And I totally forgot they were coming up. When are they?"

And I look at the date of the telecast. And what I see turns my bowels to ice:

Sunday, Sept. 18.

Yes, the night of my first official show at Therapy -- the night we planned to show a movie at 8 and then have me go up at 10 and host comedy -- is Emmy Night.

This may not seem like a big deal to you straighties, but let me break it down for you:

If Oscar Night is the Gay Super Bowl, Emmy Night is the World Series. Imagine that on the night of the World Series, instead of getting together with your buds to watch the game and scratch yourselves at somebody's house, you go out to your neighborhood sports bar. But rather than having the game on, the bar is showing an old Joan Crawford movie on the big screen, followed by a gay comedy show.

Would you stay and watch? Or would you stage a riot and torch the place?

Bottom line, you can't ask a bunch of queens (in the theater district, natch) to choose me over Ellen Degeneres and gold statuettes. It ain't gonna happen.


I hate you, you little bitch.

The solution, which came to me almost immediately, is simple: We'll show the Emmys instead of a movie, and the comedy show will follow. It'll actually be good to have the awards as a source for material. I just wish this whole thing had dawned on me a week ago, when we could still publicize it in the fag rags as "Emmy Night," rather than "Movie Night." And I wish this weren't happening on the very first Sunday night of my show. And I wish I didn't have the worst luck EVER.

Speaking of bad luck, I headed down to Rose's Turn with Seth Friday night for a little microphone time, only to find that the entire staff -- Terri White, Kelly Howe, Joe Ardizzone, and worst of all, Michael Isaacs -- was on vacation. In place of Michael at the piano was Blind Bill Graves, a terrific musician and a helluva guy but someone wholly unfamiliar with my schtick. He wouldn't know "Life in a Northern Town," and he certainly wouldn't expect me to stop in the middle of a song and do jokes. Meekly, I handed him a bev-nap on which I had scrawled:

"Adam Sank would like to sing Cats in the Cradle."

"Oh really?," he said into the mic after reading it, "And would Adam Sank also like to provide me with sheet music for that song? 'Cuz I don't know it."

(It should be noted here that Blind Bill Graves isn't actually blind. Just very sarcastic.)

Dejected, I handed him another bev-nap:

"James Taylor/Fire & Rain?"

"Ladies and Gentlemen," he said moments later, before I was even able to take a sip of my Tanqueray and tonic, "We have an early guest singer tonight. Please welcome to the microphone, Adam Shank."

"Uh, hi," I told the curious crowd. "Normally I get up here and sing 'Life in a Northern Town' and tell jokes. But tonight instead I thought I'd bum you out..." and immediately launched into the most depressing song James Taylor ever wrote. My only attempt at a joke came when I sang the line, "Lord knows, when the cold wind blows/It'll turn your head around."

"Like The Exorcist," I mumbled.

Bill actually laughed at this. As I made my way back to my seat, he began playing the theme from "The Exorcist."

That he knew by heart.


'Your mother tells hack jokes in Hell.'

Saturday: Took the train to New Jersey with Tony and hung out with my sisters and their kids, as well as my sister Anna's friend, Tamara, and my sister Laura's new border collie, Trixie III. Hung out at Anna's beautiful new house pondering the mystery of who peed in the bathroom garbage can. (Don't ask.) Got a pedicure with the girls while Tony watched Katrina coverage on CNN.

Came back to the city, rented "Gangs of New York," which was long, but good. Who knew there were draft riots in NYC in the 1860's?!

Roasted a kielbasa with onions and peppers for Tony and me, pigged out. Discovered the Emmy snafu, freaked out, couldn't sleep for hours. Read "In and Out in Hollywood," a deliciously trashy gay novel written by real-life voiceover king Ben Patrick Johnson, until my eyes glazed over. Slept at last.

Woke up, made omelets with leftover kielbasa, called the Therapy guy to straighten out the Emmy situation, and sat down to update my blog. Which brings us to the present.

So basically, another weekend come and gone in my exciting and glamorous life. Jealous?


P.S. Come see Robin Fox, Courtney Knowles and me at Therapy on Emmy Night -- Sunday, Sept. 18. It's gonna be AWESOME!!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Me Be Funny -- Maybe

Well, I got it. (To be said a la Valerie Cherish in "The Comeback.") Despite my catastrophic show at Therapy last Tuesday, they're giving me the Sunday night gig. The idea is, they'll show a movie, and then afterwards I'll get up and host comedy. I'm hoping the movie screening will have the same effect on the queens in the audience as does showing a Baby Einstein video to a group of 18-month-old infants -- that it'll quiet them down and help them focus on, well... on me.

In any case, my first official show is Sunday, September 18. The night before, I'll be warming up at Ron Poole's Gay and Lesbian Comedy Fest at Don't Tell Mama. Here's hoping I don't fall flat on my face. Again. Ah, such fun, this little performing career of mine.

Hard to complain, though, after such a glorious weekend. If you were anywhere in the New York metro area and didn't go outside, you missed out big-time. Perfection.

Saturday night, I hosted a pre-Labor Day Party for losers like myself who didn't get invited anywhere for the holiday weekend. I rearranged the furniture in my apartment to create an extremely low-budget dance floor and actually purchased a red flashing light to complete the cheesy effect. The party was a moderate success -- about 30 people showed up, and huge amounts of alcohol were consumed.

Highlights included a mass journey up to the rooftop deck, an in-depth discussion of one of my guest's sexual orientation, and the unexpected arrival of a gigantic black man with size 17 (!) feet. Still not sure who he was. Also, Rehnquist died during the party, which was an added treat.

By 3 a.m. I had had it and wanted everybody out. Subtle as always, I jumped up and started cleaning like a whirling dervish. Slowly, my guests took the hint and slunk off.

Sunday I slept late and spent the day fumigating my apartment, which smelled like a giant ashtray dipped in honey mustard and gin. Went back up to the roof for some serious sunbathing, worked out and rested.

...until...

10 p.m. Sunday night Seth came over to help me finish the leftover liquor. Sufficiently fortified, we joined Dan and Matt at the Cabanas outside the Maritime Hotel, which was packed wall to wall with young gay hotties. So young were most of them, in fact, that by the end of the night I felt like an old troll. Still, fun.

Slept until 1 p.m. on Monday (a record unmatched since high school), and then met Amy for a rollerblade down to the West Side piers. Laid out until 5 p.m. getting baked to within an inch of my life. (That's baked as in sun, not weed, Mom.)

Went home, pigged out, and collapsed like a sac of bricks. Then it was back to work Monday morning. All in all, a nice way to end an otherwise so-so summer.

That's all for now. Oh, and one more thing: If I see one more commercial for "The Exorcism of Emily Rose," I swear I'm gonna throw up split pea soup. I beg you all to show your opposition to this kind of hideous media oversaturation and boycott this movie. It looks totally derivative anyway.

Thursday, September 1, 2005

I Had A Dream Last Night

In the dream, I'm back in Cancún for another performance at the Atlantis gay hotel resort. This time, I've brought several friends along for moral support (though in real life, I don't know who they are).

Soon after my arrival, a middle-aged blonde lesbian approaches me poolside.

"You're Adam Sank, aren't you?," she asks.

"Yes, hi," I smile.

"You don't remember me, do you?," she says. (In the dream, as in real life, I HATE when people say this. If it's that obvious I don't remember you, why don't you just remind me who you are and stop prolonging the agony for both of us? It's not like I intentionally forgot you. Forgetting people is not an act of will, except in the case of certain ex-boyfriends of mine. The next time somebody says this to me, I'm going to reply, "No -- you are far too uninteresting for me to remember you. So don't even bother introducing yourself again -- just move along.")

"No," I say meekly, "remind me again?"

"I'm Sheila. I was your little league baseball coach."

(Make no mistake: In real life, I never played little league baseball or any kind of baseball, for that matter. I WAS forced to play in an elementary school soccer league, but that mostly entailed my spending practices and games in the left fullback position, choreographing little dances to Laura Branigan songs while my teammates steered clear of me.)

"Oh, right!," I say, "How are you, Sheila?"

"I'm looking forward to seeing you perform tomorrow night. How long have you been doing comedy?"

As we continue our little chat, I am inexplicably and violently wringing my hands.

"You know," Sheila says, pointing to my clenched paws, "that's really going to hurt your pitching."

"You're right!," I say and am suddenly struck with the thought that this whole conversation will make a great bit in my set tomorrow night: My lesbian little league coach is here in Cancún! And she's giving me tips on my pitching! HILARIOUS!

I bid Sheila goodbye and move to some sort of poolhouse.

Here's where the dream becomes quasi-sexual; I beg the prudish among you and my mother to STOP READING NOW.

There are a few people with me in the poolhouse and the conversation turns, as it often does, to Pamela Anderson. Somebody brings out a Herb Ritts-style picture book of artsy black & white nude photos of Pamela. In some of the photos, she's with a boyfriend. He's not Tommy Lee, Marcus Schenkenberg or Kid Rock. He's just some anonymous, hot male model. And he is fabulously well-hung.

"Wow!," I say, holding the book up for everyone to see, "Look how big this guy's cock is!" The room quickly fills with people angling for a peek. Suddenly, I'm no longer holding a book, but the guy, himself. He has come to life and is sprawled out against me.

The crowd gradually disperses -- as if that would happen in real life -- and now it is just me, the horse-hung model ex-boyfriend of Pam Anderson, and some annoying dork who can't take a hint. It's obvious the model and I are trying to get a little some'n some'n going with each other, but the dork keeps talking to me about my comedy.

"I was here the last time you performed!," he says, his nasal voice reducing my raging hardon to the size of a thimble.

"Oh, really?," I say, stroking Horsey's chest. "Yeah, that was a pretty awful night. I think tomorrow night's gonna go a lot better, though. I have this great new bit about a lesbian little league coach..."

Nasal dork interrupts me: "Well, your last time here wasn't nearly as bad as that time I saw you at Mahoney's. You were HORRIBLE at Mahoney's! They HATED you at Mahoney's!"

I'm about to tell this asshole that I never performed at Mahoney's; that I have never heard of a place called Mahoney's; that he needs to get the fuck out of here so that Tommy-Marcus-Kid-Cockenberg and I can get our freak on...

when suddenly...

before I know it...

MY ALARM CLOCK GOES OFF.

Analysis, please.